In 1936, the fascist dictatorship of Italy decided to nationalize the shipping industry, and established four bigger companies each assigned to a different city and with different services: the Italia di Navigazione, known also as Italian Line, based in Genoa, for transatlantic lines, the Tirrenia di Navigazione of Naples, linking Italian mainland with bigger islands and western Mediterranean, the Lloyd Triestino at Trieste, for the services to the Indian Ocean, and finally the Adriatica di Navigazione of Venice, born after the merger of San Marco shipping of Venice, Puglia Shipping of Bari, and other smaller companies of Rijeka, Zadar and Ancona. The routes planned for this company were the connections to Italian ports of Dalmatian coast, the Dodecanese islands, Jugoslavia, Albania, Greece and East Mediterranean ports. After the end of Second World War, Adriatica lost many domestic connections, maintaining only the Tremiti Islands link, and concentrated itself in cruising to Eastern Mediterranean sea, plus some other commercial links to Northern Europe. In 1961, Adriatica established, in collaboration with Hellenic Mediterranean Lines of Greece, the first ro/ro connection between Brindisi and Patras via Corfu and Igoumenitsa, deploying the “Appia”. During the Seventies, Adriatica planned new investments for her services, taking over the ro/pax vessels of Trans Tirreno for new links to the Eastern Mediterranean, plus ordering two new ro/pax at Orlando Yards of Leghorn, but the political situation in Middle East countries led the company to change its plans and charter out the vessels, rather than investing in new routes to Greece. At the beginning of Eighties, Adriatica took over also Linee Marittime dell’Adriatico and their network to Jugoslavia, maintaining also the Brindisi – Greece service, no longer in collaboration with HML, plus the long cruise-ferry services from Venice and Bari to Piraeus, Heraklion and Alexandria, Egypt. At the end of Eighties, Adriatica decided to renew its Jugoslavia fleet by ordering three brand-new tailor made ferries for these routes, but this also proved to be a wrong investment, as long as also this time the political situation fell down and the civil war forced again Adriatica to change its plans and redeploy the three ferries on Greek routes. After the end of dictatorship in Albania, Adriatica opened regular ferry services to Durres from Trieste, Ancona and Bari with the older tonnage, maintaining also the long service to Crete and Egypt until 1994. That year, Adriatica started a “motorways of the seas” project from Ravenna to Catania, using the newly-delivered ro-paxes “Espresso Catania” and “Espresso Ravenna”; services to Croatia, sailing from Ancona to Split and from Bari to Dubrovnik, were also reopened. In the meantime, the competition on Italy – Greece routes grew up, and Adriatica, which wasn’t able to answer this competition with their tonnage, reduced its Greek services to two ships by cutting the Brindisi – Corfu – Igoumenitsa daily service in 1996, and remaining with a one-ship service in 1998, serving the Brindisi – Corfu – Igoumenitsa – Patras line on alternate days, connecting the Apulian Port to the Achaia port in 19 hours, nearly the same time required to Superfast Ferries’s vessels for connecting Patras with Ancona, some 600 kilometres north of Brindisi. In 1999, Adriatica, which was totally without new investments from the State (which ordered some 16 new ferries for Tirrenia from 1994 to 2005), went on to close her services by cutting the Trieste – Durres line and, in 2003, the Ancona- Durres line; in 2001, anyway, the company took over two cargo services of Tirrenia, the Leghorn – Catania and the Genoa – Termini Imerese line. In 2004, the company was closed, incorporated into Tirrenia, which took over all the cargo services and the remaining passenger lines, the Ancona – Split line, the Bari – Durres line and the Tremiti islands line.




Ro/Ro Allemagna Express (1976-88)

Ro/Ro Anglia Express (1976-90)

F/B Appia (1961-92)

Ro/Ro Buona Speranza (1985-94)

Ro/Ro Campania (2001-04)

F/B Canaletto (2000-04)

Ro/Ro Corriere del Nord (1975-79)

Ro/Ro Corriere del Sud (1972-78)

Ro/Ro Corriere dell’Est (1972-81)

Ro/Ro Corriere dell’Ovest (1975-79)

F/B Domiziana (2003-04)

F/B Egitto Express (1991-04)

Ro/Ro Egizia (1989-04)

F/B Espresso Catania (1993-04)

F/B Espresso Egitto (1980-91)

F/B Espresso Grecia (1976-99)

F/B Espresso Livorno (1976-80)

F/B Espresso Ravenna (1994-04)

F/B Espresso Venezia (1989)

F/B Espresso Venezia (1990-03)

Ro/Ro Fenicia (1989-04)

F/B Laurana (1992-04)

Ro/Ro Nuova Ventura (1986-93)

F/B Palladio (1989-04)

F/B San Domino (1989-04)

F/B Sansovino (1989-04)

Ro/Ro Serenissima Express (1976-89)

F/B Tiepolo (1981-93)

F/B Tintoretto (1983-89)

F/B Tiziano (1980-93)

F/B Via Adriatico (2001-04)

F/B Via Tirreno (2001-04)




Adriatica – Funnel of “Campania”, Genoa, 13/11/05


Adriatica – Funnel of “Egitto Express”, Photo © Erald Spahiu


Adriatica – Funnel of “Espresso Venezia”, Photo © Erald Spahiu


Adriatica – Funnel of “Palladio”, Ancona, 04/10/03


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